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Juniper Credit: Fran Graham


If you’ve ever had a gin and tonic, then you’ve probably come across juniper as its berries are used to flavour this popular spirit. It also has other culinary uses such as for flavouring sauces for meat dishes.

In the Yorkshire Dales National Park, juniper grows in a variety of forms, ranging from a spreading shrub to a column-like tree.

juniper berries
Juniperus communis ssp. communisFamily: Cupressacea

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has made a commitment to help to conserve Juniper by implementing the Local Biodiversity Action Plan. As well as encouraging landowners and land managers to manage juniper populations in a way that will allow natural regeneration, National Park staff have also gained permission from Natural England and landowners of the largest populations to collect juniper seed. This seed is then propagated and grown on to a saleable size by specialist tree nursery Cheviot Trees. Once large enough the plants are available  for suitable new native woodland plantings within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

This species was once widespread in the upland fringes of northern England, growing often as an understorey shrub in open woodland of birch, rowan, alder, hawthorn and hazel.